Pen Is Mightier

Looks like someone was using this book for target practice.

"The Throne of David" by Rev. J.H. Ingraham. Published by G.G. Evans, 1860.

-Click to enlarge photos-


Donald Benson said...

I see a whodunit plot. A murder defendant claims he fled the victim's library when the victim fired a gun at him, but the bullet the victim supposedly shot cannot be found. Or the defendant is the one who fired the gun to chase somebody off; that somebody is found with a bullet from the same gun and the defendant is accused of doing it in the library. It turns out the bullet ended up in a book (as shown), and an interested party removed that book to destroy the defendant's alibi.

A couple of approaches:

One: A detective discovers that the carefully organized shelves have been shuffled since the murder. Perhaps another suspect had evidenced particular interest in the victim's library, setting up the red herring of the murder covering the theft of a valuable work. Or the dying victim pulled some books from the shelf before croaking, suggesting that the content of the missing book was significant.

Two: A bookseller or a customer of same acquires the book at a rummage or estate sale. Like Sherlock Holmes in "The Blue Carbuncle", he/she traces the book to its source to learn why a rare old volume was so unusually abused. This entangles the hero/heroine in a current case, likely with other persons after the volume which can convict or vindicate.

Now that I got that out of my system, anyone who want these notions can have them. Other writers in addition to Doyle must have played this card anyway, and I'm nostril-deep in a different fictional project.

Donald Benson said...

PS -- The angle the bullet entered the book, combined with the book's position on the shelf, would reveal where the shooter was standing. If the shooter was also the victim, for example, this data might establish he was standing with his back to an open window and was shot by the killer taking his daily walk through the hedge maze, using a twin of the victim's pistol (see "The Problem of Thor Bridge"). Thus the shot that actually killed wasn't heard by others inside the manor house.

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